How Can We Make Our Cities More Sustainable?
Cities are at the nexus of the greatest challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. Home to the vast majority of Canadians, cities face acute pressures to build long-term, sustainable infrastructure for growing populations. They are fertile environments for the more efficient use of resources as they seek to address challenges like road congestion, urban waste, and urban sprawl. Ecofiscal policies present cities with significant tools to tackle these issues by creating incentives for sustainable actions and necessary innovations.
Cities Need New Policy Tools
Canadian cities have limited resources, relying heavily on property taxes and transfers from higher-level governments to fund municipal infrastructure. At the same time, urban dwellers often have little incentive to limit their use of city resources, whether that’s roads or garbage dumps or drinking water. As populations grow, demand for these scarce resources rises even more. User fees and pricing incentives can play a critical role in transforming both our management of infrastructure and the way we generate revenue to support smart growth.
Canadians experience environmental and economic challenges viscerally at the local level. Ultimately, urban ecofiscal policies will help shape more livable and sustainable Canadian cities.